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EU orders probe into embezzlement of refugee funds

South Sudanese refugees in Uganda
 The European Union has opened investigations into allegations of corruption in refugee assistance programmes in Uganda.
 
A statement from the head of European Union delegation in Uganda confirmed that it has formally submitted the case to the EU's anti-fraud office (OLAF) for investigation.
 
OLAF investigates a wide range of wrongdoings from embezzlement, fraudulent claims and misconduct in public procurement procedures, to customs fraud.
 
OLAF helps the authorities responsible for managing EU funds inside and outside the EU to understand fraud types, trends, threats and risks, and to protect the EU's financial interests by preventing fraud of all kinds.
 
There are allegations that officials at the Office of the Prime Minister (OPM) have been swindling money meant for refugees operations in Uganda.
 
Complaints also indicate that OPM officials in connivance with aid workers have been inflating refugee figures in order to attract more aid which is then corruptly shared. The allegations were reportedly raised by South Sudan refugees to UN High Commissioner for Refugees, Filippo Grandi, while on a visit to Uganda last week.
 
The EU statement says the allegations were brought immediately to the attention of the government of Uganda.
 
"We take a zero-tolerance approach when it comes to any allegations of misconduct occurring in European Union-funded projects and even more so when this has potential negative effects on an already very vulnerable population such as refugees and host communities," reads the statement.
 
The statement says the UNHCR and the World Food Programme have duly informed the EU about the allegations. It says the EU has been coordinating closely with the aid agencies and other donors with the OPM to get a clear understanding of what it calls "these troubling allegations".
 
The EU further reveals that in meetings with the government and partners, the EU delegation called for urgent and thorough investigations as well as for changes in the registration system for refugees. 
 
"With the government of Uganda successfully developing a Comprehensive Refugee Response Framework (CRRF), it is indeed of outmost importance to address swiftly and thoroughly any allegations of malfeasance in order not to impair this important process and the public support from the European taxpayers," said the EU.
 
The EU said it is monitoring the development of the investigations and will continue to coordinate closely with the Uganda government and with partners towards a swift and thorough review of refugee operations in Uganda. This, the statement says, is to ensure that critical services to refugees can be provided efficiently and transparently.
 
The allegations come just a week after the EU announced a Shs 450 million support towards the influx of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) refugees to Uganda. The funding was directed to operations of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC).
 
This  is  not be the first time the EU delegation in Uganda (DELUGA) is refereeing a case of alleged fraud and corruption in EU-funded projects to its anti-fraud agency (OLAF) for investigation.
 
OLAF successfully investigated the Global Fund Scam between 2002 and 2005 leading to a conviction of a number of culprits believed to have swindled part of the 230 million euros from the European Development Fund and 202 million euros from the EU budget.
 
In a related development, there is more pressure from more donors calling on the government to investigate malpractices in refugee assistance response.
 
UNDP country representative, Rosa Malango, confirmed that she last month wrote to the government calling for the investigations ranging from "corruption to fraud, trafficking of women and girls to intimidation and harassment of UN personnel."
 
There are also reports that South Sudanese girls and women are being trafficked from the refugee camps in northern Uganda back to the war-torn country.

Uganda is home to at least 1.3 million refugees from South Sudan, DRC and Burundi.

Comments

+1 #1 Lakwena 2018-02-06 08:10
In other words, the proliferation of refugees in the Great Lake Region and their destination being Uganda; is a syndicate, and discrete form of human trafficking, whose architect is non other than Mr. M7.

It is Mr. M7 who since 1981 has been stirring up armed conflicts and genocide in the Great Lake Region, hence the deluge of refugees.

I am surprise that the international community, especially the UN still look at the man as the hope of refugees, yet he is their nightmare.

E.g. when Mr. M7 was generating thousands orphans and widows in Luweero and Northern Uganda, his wife Janet Kataha started an NGO, called UWESO in order to rake in hundreds of millions of dollars from unsuspecting donors.

From 1986 to 2006 (20 years), Northern Uganda was an NGO country.
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+1 #2 Lakwena 2018-02-06 08:20
In other words, all this long, the EU should have by now known better.

But they haven't: We are talking about organized prevention of refugees cases, versus state organized criminals abetting refugee crisis.
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0 #3 Phalanch 2018-02-06 13:06
Getting rich at the expense of human blood. these r vampires .

That's why millions of refugees are finding Uganda an open door toilet !!!!! to the vampire the more refugees they hv the more blood.

A scum that is not only killing Ugandans of all walks of life but also leaving them refugees inside their own country, their land grabbed at gun point to be used as camps.

It doesn't have to be this way, Uganda has got what it takes to turn all this around, to our own advantage .
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0 #4 Odongkara 2018-02-06 14:16
The unending war in South Sudan is blamed on Uganda according to the UN reports, which is true we North Uganda know it.

Swindling of refugee funds is now on Uganda, what is wrong with this country? Will Ugandans find a place for refuge in South Sudan if things fall apart?
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